New Diamond Jubilee Woodlands for Hampshire
Thursday, 05 July 2012
Hampshire County Council has confirmed that its plans to create new public woodlands to improve recreational opportunities for people across Hampshire are to go ahead. The three new woodland areas near Andover, Basingstoke and Hedge End total approximately 100 acres and have been designated jointly as one of the Diamond Woods that the Woodland Trust has been promoting across the United Kingdom to mark The Queen's Diamond Jubilee.
Our vision - creating ready access for all to our Country Parks
The Leader of Hampshire County Council, Councillor Ken Thornber, said:
"It has long been a vision of Hampshire County Council to ensure that all the major urban areas of Hampshire would have ready access to the County's country parks and other major recreation sites. The new woodlands will provide improved access, add to the local bio-diversity and be used by the community for a variety of leisure, recreational and educational pursuits.
"I am particularly pleased that the Andover part of the Diamond Wood is proceeding as the creation of the new woodland, with involvement of local schoolchildren in its planting, would have been strongly supported by the late Councillor David Kirk, former County Council Member for Andover South and the lead Member for Children's Services, who sadly passed away suddenly in August 2010. Councillor Kirk worked tirelessly for improved educational and recreational opportunities for young people."
The Andover part of the Diamond Wood
is being developed on land to the north-east of Andover between East Anton, Enham and Smannell. Plans are being worked up in conjunction with the Test Valley Borough Council, Woodland Trust, Forestry Commission and Andover Trees United, a schools-initiated community group. The Andover Trees United part of the wood will be developed and managed as a community woodland, planted by children from most of the schools in the Andover area using saplings raised in their own school tree nurseries. Wendy Davis, a local school teacher instigated this inspirational scheme which has been promoted with the support of fellow teaching staff, members of the local community and other partners. Hampshire County Council acquired the 44 acre site for the new woodland from the Nelson Dance Family Trust who shared the County Council's vision of creating a lasting recreational and educational asset for the benefit of Andover. The County Council has been working closely with Test Valley Borough Council to ensure that the design of the new woodland and its proposed uses complement the landscaping and recreational facilities being provided by the Borough Council on its adjoining land.
The Basingstoke part of the Diamond Wood at Manydown will be planted on 20 acres of land which forms part of the leasehold interest held by Basingstoke and Deane Borough Council and Hampshire County Council. This land between Wootton St Lawrence and Worting is covered by a restrictive covenant and would be excluded from any development, should this be approved for any part of the Manydown land in the future. Hampshire County Council is presently working with Basingstoke and Deane Borough Council and the Manydown Company Ltd on detailed proposals for the new woodland so that it can utilise the 2012/13 winter planting season. It is hoped that the woodland could develop into a new country park over the next ten years.
The proposals for 36 acres of new woodland on land at Manor Farm Country Park will enhance the recreational opportunities for people from the Hedge End area and others living within South-East Hampshire. This is the largest urban area in the south-east of England outside of London and an area where significant further growth is indicated in the local plans currently being finalised by the borough and district councils, in their role as local planning authorities. The new planting forms part of the management plans for the park and will relieve visitor pressure on existing woodland close to the Hamble River which has particularly high ecological value. The tree planting will re-establish Kings Copse which existed on the site in the 1800s prior to its clearance and after which the nearby Kings Copse Primary School is named.
A mixture of broadleaf trees
Each of the new woodland areas will be planted with a mix of broadleaf trees including Oak, Ash, Cherry and Hazel. When complete the new woodland will offer local communities a variety of recreational activities including walking and cycling. A number of paths will pass through the woodland opening up views into glades, across open countryside and linking to surrounding public rights of way. Hampshire County Council is negotiating with the Forestry Commission and the Woodland Trust to ensure that the proposals for each of the new woods meets the requirements for grant aid to plant and then establish the woodlands.
Hampshire County Council's county wide proposals achieved
The confirmation of the new woodlands rounds off the County Council's tree planting proposals as part of the Hampshire celebrations to mark The Queen's Diamond Jubilee, which have been co-ordinated by HM Lord-Lieutenant of Hampshire, Dame Mary Fagan. In addition, working with the Woodland Trust and the Hampshire Gardens Trust:
- Oak trees have been planted in over 340 schools across Hampshire
- The County Council has supplied oak trees to over 100 town and parish councils in Hampshire which have been planted in public spaces to mark the Diamond Jubilee.
- The collection of specimen oaks at the Sir Harold Hillier Gardens near Romsey, which is already one of the largest in the UK, will be extended by the planting of 10 additional varieties in the autumn.
Plant even more trees
The Woodland Trust commented: "The Woodland Trust's Jubilee Woods Project was launched by the Princess Royal in Hampshire in 2011 and so it is fitting that Hampshire County Council should make such a strong contribution to the project with schemes which will be of exceptional value to the residents of Hampshire. We need support from all over Hampshire to enable us to work with people to plant even more trees across the County, find out how to help.
The Jubilee Woods project aims to plant six million trees to celebrate The Queen's reign and involve millions of people.